This is the 2nd of a 10-part series on Customer Leadership.
In this LEADERSHIP MINTS series, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Steelcase Inc. (founded March 16, 1912) and salute their Customer Leaders (a.k.a employees). Those highly motivated Customer Leaders have consistently helped the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company reign as the office-furniture industry leader for most of its 100 years in business.
By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an example of a Customer Leader making the manufacturing work environment more engaging.
Craig, the Steelcase janitor, pushed more than a broom. He wielded a brush with the flair of an artist. His murals brightened the walls in what was then called the Systems II manufacturing plant in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
No doubt the janitor-turned-artist and brightened the spirits of hundreds of fellow factory employees. And no doubt those reinvigorating seascapes and sunrises enhanced the employee morale and resulting quality of their production work.
Craig volunteered to paint the mural on his own time. Craig painted a 12-foot wide, 8-foot high seascape mural that features a bright orange sun. The sun is setting and spraying its orange and yellow hues across the seagull-filled blue sky. There’s a sailboat silhouetted in black on the calm sea.
The mural brightened up a windowless portion of the plant where workers would pass by every day on their way out of the plant. Most workers never saw the light of day especially in the winter months. They day-shift would start work in the pre-dawn darkness and exit the plant at dusk. So Craig’s art served to brighten the faces of the workers as much as the walls.
Craig’s work stimulated two fellow employees to volunteer to apply their artistic talents to the walls of a Steelcase’s manufacturing plant:
1. Chuck, a Steelcase welder and an airbrush hobbyist, painted a 40-foot wide, 25-foot high mural on another plant wall that saluted a product line team.
2. LaDonna, a cafeteria worker, collaborated with Craig to create the largest mural in the plant: 100-feet long and 12-feet high. The mural, saluting teamwork, featured a 12 -foot long quill-like pen dipping into a 4-foot high, 3-foot wide ink bottle with the inscription:
Writing the Next Chapter, Together.
Next: Customer Leadership Mint #3: Perfect Attendance
Utilize all the skills in your employees to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
You might also like these previous Leadership Mints on Attitude:
Success: You’re Richer Than You Think
Yabba Dabba Doooo On Monday Mornings Too
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